With just 10-15 minutes of prep time, this Salsa Chicken recipe is perfect for weeknight eating. It’s quick to prepare, budget-friendly, made with real food ingredients, and delivers flavors that both kids and adults will like. When it comes to serving this Salsa Chicken, we like to enjoy the juicy, shredded chicken served bowl-style over rice with toppings. We also give more serving suggestions to fit all your preferences for an easy recipe that never gets old. We provide both Instant Pot and slow cooker directions for a mostly hands-off recipe that comes together quick and provides many great meals.
Bowl-Style Or Burrito-Style, This Salsa Chicken Recipe Is One You’ll Want To Make On Repeat
If you need a family-friendly, weeknight dinner that doesn’t require hours in the kitchen to prepare, you’ve come to the right place. This Instant Pot Salsa Chicken fits the bill on all accounts! The chicken salsa portion of this recipe is made with just 8 ingredients including many budget-friendly pantry staples like canned black beans, canned corn, broth, taco seasoning, and a jar of your favorite salsa for bold, Mexican-inspired flavors.
And while the Cilantro-Lime Crema is optional, we highly recommend you give it a try. It makes for an easy and flavorful saucy addition to the recipe and is made with just 5 simple ingredients. As far as how you serve this Salsa Chicken recipe, we leave that up to you but we provide several off our favorite suggestions below.
What Are The Ingredients In Salsa Chicken?
Here’s what you need to make this salsa chicken today:
- Olive oil or avocado oil – we like Primal Kitchen avocado oil and organic olive oil
- Yellow onion and garlic cloves – sautéed to bring out their best flavors
- Boneless skinless chicken breasts – you may also substitute boneless skinless chicken thighs. Butcher Box is our go-to when it comes to a source for quality meats
- Salsa – choose your favorite salsa, mild or medium. You’ll use the whole jar or about 2 cups of salsa
- Canned black beans
- Canned sweet corn – May substitute thawed and drained frozen corn
- Chicken broth – our homemade bone broth is perfect for this recipe and adds a boost of nutrition
- Taco seasoning – any pre-made taco seasoning will work. We always have our Homemade Taco Seasoning on hand, which works wonderfully in this recipe to season chicken and is made with real-food ingredients such as cumin, chili powder, garlic powder, and paprika
- Fine salt and black pepper
For the complete directions and ingredient amounts, scroll down to the recipe card below. All of our recipes include the nutrition analysis, listing calories, protein, carbohydrates, fiber, sugar, sodium, and more per serving.
Ingredient Spotlight: Chicken
Consuming adequate amounts of protein is a great way to support your health and can help increase muscle mass and strength, improve bone health, reduce cravings, and lower blood pressure. As a result, we recommend that you consume some protein in every meal, and chicken is one of our favorite sources to use to help meet our protein goals. Budget-friendly and versatile, chicken is also full of health benefits. For example, chicken is:
- An excellent source of high-quality protein
- Low in saturated fat and cholesterol
- Rich in niacin, selenium, and phosphorus
- A good source of vitamins B6 and B12
Learn How to Read Poultry Labels
There are so many words and phrases on poultry labels that it can be confusing to buy. Free range, farm-raised, antibiotic-free, organic, natural, humanely raised. What’s the difference, anyway? Don’t worry! We’ll teach you how to understand and read poultry labels to make it easy to select the best chicken at any grocery store to meet all your needs.
How Do You Make Salsa Chicken?
Instant Pot Option:
Here are the steps to make this recipe quickly in the Instant Pot:
- Sauté: Set the Instant Pot to sauté, and add the oil and onion. Cook until tender, stirring occasionally. Add the garlic, and continue to cook, stirring to prevent the garlic from burning.
- Combine the ingredients: Add the salsa, black beans, corn, broth, taco seasoning, salt, and pepper to the mix. Stir, and place the chicken on top, gently pressing it into the salsa mixture.
- Cook: Lock the lid in place, and make sure the vent is in the sealed position. Set the Instant Pot to ‘High Pressure’. Once the cooking is complete, allow natural leasing for a few minutes. Then, flip the valve to ‘vent’.
- Shred the cooked chicken: Remove the chicken, and shred it with two forks. Once shredded, place it back in the Instant Pot, and toss to coat it with the sauce.
Slow Cooker Option:
Here are the steps to make crockpot salsa chicken for a recipe for a ‘set-it-and-forget-it’ meal perfect for busy days and meal prep:
- Sauté: Heat oil in a pan on the stovetop. Add the garlic and onion, and sautée until they’re soft and fragrant.
- Combine the ingredients: Add all of the ingredients except for the chicken to the crockpot. Stir to combine, and place the chicken breasts on top, pressing them down gently into the salsa mixture.
- Cook: Cover the crockpot, and set it to cook for 3-4 hours on high or 5-6 hours on low.
- Shred: Use two forks to shred the cooked chicken, and enjoy! Or try these meat shredding claws for super easy shredding.
Ingredients To Make Cilantro-Lime Crema
Cilantro-Lime Crema makes for an especially delicious addition to this salsa chicken recipe as well as any of your favorite Mexican-inspired recipes! We love it on our Instant Pot Barbacoa, Slow Cooker Chicken Tacos, Vegan Enchiladas, and Instant Pot Salsa Verde Chicken. Here are the ingredients you need:
- Sour cream – for dairy-free use a dairy-free sour cream such as Forager
- Lime – juice of 1 lime + ½ teaspoon lime zest
- Fresh cilantro leaves
- Honey – may substitute agave or maple syrup
- Garlic clove – may substitute ¼ teaspoon garlic powder
- Fine salt
How To Make Cilantro-Lime Crema
This topping looks and tastes gourmet but is quick to make with the two simple steps below.
- Combine the ingredients: Add all the ingredients to a small blender or food processor.
- Blend: Pulse until a smooth, creamy sauce is formed.
Make a big batch of cilantro-lime crema, and store it in an airtight container or mason jar in the fridge for up to 5 days to add flavor to all your meals.
How To Serve Salsa Chicken
As noted above, there are endless ways you can serve this Salsa Chicken recipe. We like to serve it bowl-style on a bed of cooked rice or cauliflower rice with all kinds of fixings (or whatever we have on hand) for a homemade burrito bowl. A couple of other options include serving the tender, shredded chicken, burrito-style, tucked into lettuce wraps or tortillas, over lettuce for a low carb taco salad, stuffed in quesadillas, or sprinkled over tortilla chips for nachos.
To give you a little ‘fixing’ inspiration, here are some of our favorite items to add to the top of the chicken:
- Avocado or guacamole
- Cilantro-lime crema
- Thinly sliced or pickled jalapeño
- Lime wedges or lime juice
- Fresh chopped cilantro
- Pickled red onion or sliced red onion
- Crushed blue corn tortilla chips
- Shredded Cheddar cheese or your favorite shredded cheese for added calcium
- Fresh diced tomatoes
- Sautéed peppers for added fiber and nutrients like vitamin A and vitamin C
How To Store Or Freeze Salsa Chicken Leftovers
To store the salsa chicken leftovers, simply place the cooled meat in an airtight container with lid and store it in the fridge for up to 4 days or in the freezer for up to 3 months.
Frequently Asked Questions
You’ll know your chicken is finished cooking when the internal temperature reaches 165℉ and it can easily be shredded with forks.
We haven’t tested this salsa chicken recipe in the oven, but it should work. Just arrange the ingredients in a baking dish, cover them with foil, and bake them at 375℉ for about 30 minutes or until cooked through.
Either will work for this recipe. We recommend smooth varieties to allow the chicken to soak up as much flavor as possible.
We have found that this recipe can be divided into 8 servings, depending on how hungry you are, of course!
If using the Instant Pot, the cook time will be about 20 minutes with a total time of 30 minutes. If you prefer to use a slow cooker, it will take between 3-6 hours total, depending on if you set the slow cooker to high or low.
For the Salsa Chicken:
- 1 tablespoon olive oil or avocado oil
- 1 cup diced yellow onion
- 4 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 (14-16 ounce) jar of your favorite salsa (mild or medium)
- 1 (15 ounce) can no salt added black beans, drained and rinsed
- 1 (15 ounce) can no salt added sweet corn, drained (may sub 1 ½ cups frozen corn)
- ½ cup low-sodium chicken broth or water
- 2 tablespoons Homemade Taco Seasoning (or taco seasoning of choice)
- 1 teaspoon fine salt
- ¼ teaspoon black pepper
- 2 pounds boneless skinless chicken breasts
For the Cilantro-Lime Crema
- 1 cup sour cream
- 2–3 tablespoons lime juice (juice of 1 lime) + ½ teaspoon lime zest
- ¼ cup fresh cilantro leaves
- ½ teaspoon honey
- 1 small garlic clove or ¼ teaspoon garlic powder
- ⅛ teaspoon fine salt
Optional for serving: serve the salsa chicken over cooked rice or cauliflower rice, top with sliced avocado, cilantro-lime crema, thinly sliced jalapeno, lime wedges, fresh chopped cilantro, pickled red onion, and a side of blue corn tortilla chips
Instant Pot Directions:
- Select the ‘saute’ function on the Instant Pot. Once hot, add the oil and diced onion. Stir occasionally cooking for 3-4 minutes or until onions start to become tender. Add the garlic and continue to cook for 1 minute, stirring occasionally to prevent garlic from burning.
- Add salsa, black beans, corn, broth, taco seasoning, salt, and pepper to the Instant Pot. Stir then place the chicken on top and gently press them into the salsa mixture.
- Place the lid on the Instant Pot, lock it into place, and make sure the vent is in the sealed position.
- Set Instant Pot to ‘High Pressure’ setting then set the cooking time for 10 minutes.
- Once cooking is completed, allow natural releasing of pressure for 3-4 minutes then switch the valve to ‘vent’.
- When all of the pressure releases and the lid unlocks, remove the chicken and shred the chicken with two forks. Toss chicken back into the pot to coat with sauce.
- To make the cilantro-lime crema: Add the ingredients to a small blender cup or small food processor and blend until smooth.
- Assemble the bowls with suggested serving options.
Slow Cooker Directions:
- To make this recipe in a slow cooker instead of an Instant Pot, saute the garlic and onion in a skillet oil on the stove top until softened. Add the sauteed garlic and onion to the slow cooker.
- Add the salsa, black beans, corn, broth, taco seasoning, salt, and pepper to the slow cooker. Stir, then place the chicken breasts on top and press them gently into the salsa mixture. Cook for 3-4 hours on high or 5-6 hours on low.
- Remove the chicken and shred the chicken with two forks. Toss chicken back into the slow cooker to coat with sauce.
- To make the Cilantro-Lime Crema: Add the ingredients to a small blender cup or small food processor and blend until smooth.
- Assemble the bowls with suggested serving options.
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- Serving Size: 1 cup chicken + 2 tablespoons crema
- Calories: 325
- Fat: 11 g
- (Sat Fat: 6 g)
- Sodium: 730 g
- Carbohydrate: 24 g
- (Fiber: 5 g
- Sugar: 8 g)
- Protein: 30 g
- Cholesterol: 123 mg
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Photo Credit: The photos in this blog post were taken by Jess of Plays Well with Butter.
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